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Nonforfeiture Clause


A nonforfeiture clause is a feature in an insurance policy that allows policyholders to receive a degree of benefits if they allow the policy to lapse due to nonpayment of premiums. It prevents the insured from losing all benefits if they stop paying, ensuring that they are compensated to a worthwhile extent. The types of nonforfeiture options can include cash surrender, reduced paid-up insurance, and extended term insurance.


The phonetic pronunciation of “Nonforfeiture Clause” is: “non-for-fi-cher kloz”.

Key Takeaways

<ol><li>The Nonforfeiture Clause is a provision in an insurance policy that allows policyholders to receive the full or partial benefits of their policy, even if they have stopped paying premiums. It means that the value of the policy will not be completely lost in spite of non-payment. </li><li>Nonforfeiture options generally include cash surrender value, reduced paid-up insurance, and extended term insurance. Each option serves different needs. For example, cash surrender value allows policyholders to cash out their policy, while reduced paid-up insurance provides a reduced death benefit for a certain timeframe without any further premiums. </li><li>However, the clause usually comes into effect after the policy has been in force for a specific period, commonly three years. And typically, not all types of insurance policies have nonforfeiture clauses. They are mainly seen in life insurance policies and annuities. </li></ol>


A Nonforfeiture Clause is paramount in business/finance because it safeguards the rights of an insurance policyholder by guaranteeing certain benefits even if they decide to surrender their policy or if they cease paying premiums due to financial hardship or other reasons. This clause means the policyholder will still be able to receive a proportionate amount from their investments, providing them some form of financial security. It serves as an essential protection for policyholders against the total loss of benefits, making insurance policies more reliable and attractive.


A Nonforfeiture Clause in insurance policies serves the crucial function of protecting policyholders from total loss of paid premiums when they might need to surrender their policy or fail to pay their premiums. This provision primarily applies to whole life insurance policies, annuity policies, and other similar forms of insurance. The central purpose of such a clause is to ensure that policyholders retain certain policy benefits, proportionate to the amount of premiums they’ve already paid, even if the policy lapses due to non-payment.The Nonforfeiture Clause is mainly used to stipulate the different options available to the policyholder in case of policy lapse or surrender. These options could come in different forms such as a reduced paid-up insurance, extended term insurance, or a cash value payment. The reduced paid-up option allows the policyholder to use the cash value of their policy to purchase a paid-up policy with a lower death benefit. The extended term insurance, on the other hand, allows the policyholder to use the policy’s cash value to purchase term insurance for a specific period. Lastly, the cash value option allows the policyholder to withdraw the policy’s cash value minus any surrender charges.


1. Life Insurance Policies: A nonforfeiture clause present in a life insurance policy allows the policyholder to receive the cash value of their policy, should they need to terminate the policy prematurely or are unable to continue paying premiums. The policyholder has the option to receive the cash surrender value or use it to purchase a reduced paid-up insurance or an extended term insurance. 2. Annuities: In an annuity policy, a nonforfeiture clause would allow the annuitant to receive a certain amount of income or payments even if they decide to surrender the policy before the agreed upon time. Alternatively, the sum accumulated could be put towards a different type of insurance policy.3. Long-Term Care Insurance: Long-term care insurance policies often include nonforfeiture clauses to provide some level of benefits even if the policyholder stops paying premiums. For instance, if the policyholder has been paying premiums for a number of years but then stops, the nonforfeiture clause may allow for a partial benefit based on the amount of premiums that have been paid into the policy.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What is a Nonforfeiture Clause?

A Nonforfeiture Clause refers to a clause in an insurance policy that allows the insured to receive some level of benefits or cash value, even if they stop paying the premiums.

How does a Nonforfeiture Clause work?

The Nonforfeiture Clause becomes effective once the policyholder starts missing premium payments. Instead of losing all benefits, the policyholder is allowed to receive a reduced sum or certain non-cash benefits, based on the amount of premium already paid.

Where can a Nonforfeiture Clause typically be found?

A Nonforfeiture Clause is typically found in life insurance and long-term care insurance policies.

What are the types of nonforfeiture options available?

There are typically three nonforfeiture options available: cash surrender value, reduced paid-up insurance, and extended term insurance. The option chosen affects the amount and type of benefit received.

Is a Nonforfeiture Clause mandatory in all insurance policies?

No, a Nonforfeiture Clause is not mandatory in all insurance policies. However, many jurisdictions require insurance policies to include nonforfeiture provisions to safeguard the interests of policyholders.

What is Cash Surrender Value?

Cash Surrender Value refers to the amount available in cash upon the cancellation of a policy before it becomes payable upon death or maturity.

What is the difference between a nonforfeiture clause and a lapse or forfeiture?

A lapse or forfeiture causes the policy to terminate when a policyholder stops premium payments, whereas a nonforfeiture clause allows the policyholder to receive benefits or a partial refund of the premiums already paid, even after defaulting on the premium payments.

How is the coverage amount under a Nonforfeiture Clause determined?

The coverage amount under a Nonforfeiture Clause is often determined by the amount of premium already paid, the cash value of the policy, and the type of non-forfeiture option chosen by the policyholder.

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